What Are The Differences Between Kickboxing VS Boxing?

Last Updated on October 2, 2021 by

The major difference between boxing and kickboxing is that boxing involves using arm techniques (throwing of punches and jabs), while kickboxing involves using both arm and leg techniques. Though these two combat sports have so much in common, they still have their differences. Their major differences come in the ruleset, fight positioning & movement, strategy, and techniques. If you’re not planning to compete in the sport as a professional, both art forms are effective for self-defense. In this blog post, we’ll quickly run through the major differences in detail for a better understanding of each sport. Let’s roll!

Kickboxing VS Boxing – Differences 

Kickboxing VS Boxing Differences 

Fighting Techniques 

The fighting techniques of the two sports are different and unique. Boxing allows only arm techniques while kickboxing allows both arm and feet techniques. Kickboxing has a more different approach, movements, positions to combat since it requires fighters to attack and defend against punches and leg attacks as well. The punching techniques of the same sport are the same thing. They both involve the use of uppercuts, jabs, and hook with some divergences such as overhand punches. 

When you’re watching a kickboxing fight, you’ll notice that a fighter might sometimes make a spinning back fist shot which is never allowed in boxing. Kick involvements in kickboxing mean that fighters need to move quickly in and out of shots. Concerning the stance during a fight, a boxer knows the exact point he needs to stand to avoid getting hit by a punch from the waist up. A kickboxer, however, needs to be in a stance to avoid both punches and leg kicks from their whole body.

Movement Differences

Kickboxing requires more tactical movements because fighters get longer reach with their feet than they do with punches. When you’re practicing kickboxing, you’ll get to learn about defending low kicks. Don’t forget that a fighter will have an upper hand over his opponent when there’s a wrong move that gives room for a few decent shots. That’s why kickboxers keep a greater distance when they are guarding as they make use of quick jams and in-and-out sharp movements to minimize damages. That’s not the case with boxing since there’s a limited area to cover. Boxing doesn’t allow any under-waist strike so it is not quite easy to attack the defense of your opponent by getting a hit for it. 

Rules Differences

The first rule difference between the two sports is that boxing only permits the use of arm techniques, while kickboxing allows fighters to use both arm and feet techniques. But that’s not all. There’s more.

 Kickboxing allows certain elbow strikes that will get a fighter disqualified in boxing. Boxing has a total of 12 rounds in which each round lasts only 3 minutes. However, winners of the fight can be determined before the 12th round if one fighter knocks out his opponent. If there’s no winner after the 12th round, the judge decides the winner by the accumulated score in each round. 

In kickboxing, there’s a total of 3 to 10 rounds in which each round lasts only 2-3 minutes each with a one-minute rest in-between rounds. The rules of equipment are straightforward. Boxers wear boxing boots and gloves, while kickboxers fight barefoot with elastic bandages to support ankles.   

The Table Below Contains The Major Differences Between Kickboxing And Boxing

Criteria KickboxingBoxing
Short DescriptionKickboxing is a form of combat sport that involves the use of feet and arm techniquesBoxing is a form of combat sport that involves the use of fist or arm techniques alone. Boxers fight with padded gloves in a roped square ring.
AdventKickboxing originated from JapanTraditional boxing originated from Greece, while modern-day boxing was originated from America
Fighting Techniques Kicks, punches, and jabs are all allowed during a fightPunches, jabs, and blocks are only during a fight
Valuable TechniquesContinuous kicking, boxing, and striking are engaged as valuable techniques in the sportClinching, Circling, and Left Jab are engaged as valuable techniques in the sports 
DucklingIn kickboxing, you’re not allowed to duck low or move away with your feetIn boxing, you’re allowed to duck low or move away with your feet
Body Parts EngagedKickboxing allows the use of both hands and feetBoxing only allows the use of hands
RestrictionsThere are limited restrictions in kickboxing. You can strike your opponent anywhereYou can not strike your opponent on his throat or below the belt
Advantages Of Other PartsIn kickboxing, the hands, feet, elbow, knees, and sometimes heads are used to attack the opponents You can only use your hands to throw punches
OlympicsKickboxing is not part of the Olympic sportsBoxing is one of the major parts of Olympic sports. 
Associations WAKO: World Association of Kickboxing Organizations.WKO: World Kickboxing AssociationIKF: International Kickboxing FederationIBF: International Boxing FederationWBA: World Boxing AssociationWBC: World Boxing CouncilWBO: World Boxing Organization 


For a better understanding of the differences between boxing and kickboxing, we’ve composed a list of frequently asked questions and answers. 

Is Kickboxing Safer Than Boxing?

If we are going to answer this question through the injury rate, boxing is safer. Kickboxing has an injury rate of 2.5 injuries per hour, which is really high especially when compared to the boxing injury rate of 17.1 injuries per 100 matches. Boxing is safer because there are reduced hits from the arm and feet as used in kickboxing. 

Is Boxing Or Kickboxing Better For MMA?

Choosing between kickboxing and boxing for MMA depends on your preferences. Kickboxing generally offers you more fighting techniques but you should be ready to dedicate time to train to a high level of proficiency which combines kicking and punches.

Is Kickboxing Good In Street Fights?

Kickboxing teaches you a lot of fighting techniques and movements other than just throwing punches and kicks. You will get to know how to take and absorb kicks, hits, and punches, which helps to equip you for real-life fighting situations. Being a kickboxer will give you the extra confidence of evading any attack from real-life opponents. 

Is Kickboxing Good For Females?

Women who practice kickboxing will get a toned and physically fit body structure.  It is combat training that will help women with a total-body workout. A total body, in turn, helps with body flexibility, burning calories, coordination improvement, and cardiovascular fitness enhancement. 

Closing Thought – Wrapping It Up! 

Just like we stated above, the main disparity between the two sports is that kickboxing focuses on fighting with both hands and feet while boxing only focuses on fighting with the hands alone. Furthermore, kickboxers are allowed to punch and kick their opponents. Boxers are only allowed to punch, jam, and block. We’ve come to the final chapter of this informative article. We hope you were able to find good and reliable resources in your quest to know the differences between boxing and martial arts. If you have any questions or comments about the article topic, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks!

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